We’ll have to be honest here, we’ve never been particularly big seafood fans at The Allrounder. Don’t get us wrong, we like seafood, but if we’re out at a restaurant we’ll generally go for one of the land-dwelling options. Maybe a bit of crab pâté as a starter or some scampi. That’ll do us.
That was until we nipped over to Dalston to try out pop-up turned permanent restaurant Mussel Men.
Luckily we were invited to join in a set menu at the restaurant, which was good as we would have had absolutely no idea what to choose from the extensive menu (this one is just a sample. It changes). Okay, so you can probably guess that mussels feature fairly prominently, but there’s more, so much more. Starters include things like Hand Dived Scallops with Sauerkraut and Apple & Bacon, or Potted Scandinavian Crayfish with Pickled Red Onion. For mains there’s impressive looking things like a Pulled Pork and Soft Shell Crab Burger or Skrei Cod, Mash and Burnt leek & clam sauce – and that’s even before you start to look at the varied oyster and mussel options (ever had them with Cider and Chorizo?).
But Mussel Men is not just about the food. As soon as you walk in you realise there’s a sort of nice happy, friendly vibe. Largely as a result of owner, Captain Bob (or Robin, as he’s more commonly known). A man who will not only serve you food, but will also take you on in a thumb war. If you manage to beat him (apparently he’s pretty damn good), you’ll win a special T-shirt – which is probably a first for a restaurant.
So whether you love seafood or your fairly ambivalent towards it (we were. Once), Mussel Man is well worth a visit. They’ve even built a new separate room for private dining, you know, for all those Christmas parties and whatnot. Called the “Captain’s Quarters”, the space holds up to twenty of your crew with a selection of menus, ranging from £30 for two courses to an unlimited bevy option costing £100 per person (for 10-15 people).
There’s also a fairly weighty wine and beer list – we tested as much of it as was humanly possible. Heading back there next week to try the rest. We like to see a job through properly.
Address: 584 Kingsland Road, London, E8 4AH
Picture credits: Mussel Men